2019 Assen MotoGP Race Result: The Wait Is Over

The premier class youngsters lined up on the front row of the grid with warm but not as warm as predicted conditions and a touch of wind, just enough to add to the nerves in your belly. And two out of the three men took the checkered flag with a smile on their face – the smile particularly wide for Maverick Viñales (with a side of relief), as he took his and Yamaha’s first victory of the season after a strong display around the infamous cathedral of speed. Marc Marquez made sure to be the fly in his soup for most of the race but had to admit defeat and take the boost in the championship that comes with a second place. Fabio Quartararo made it back to back podiums, the poleman enjoying some fresh air up front for a good part of the race.

The story started slightly different, front row starter Alex Rins getting the holeshot, while teammate Joan Mir blasted through from eighth grid spot to play wingman and make it a one-two for Suzuki. The Yamahas of Quartararo and Viñales also played the team game just behind, with Marquez ahead of the factory Ducatis. Andrea Dovizioso had another of his lightning starts to join the party straight away, going from 11th on the grid to 6th on the first lap and was pushing to catch up with the leaders while Marquez and Viñales already started swapping paint.

Rins did not get to enjoy the limelight for long, the Spaniard throwing it all away at De Bult and Mir was left alone and vulnerable to the vultures behind. Quartararo immediately picked up the lead, ahead of Viñales, Marquez and eventually Dovizioso, Mir dropping to fifth in the space of a couple of turns. Once Marquez robbed Viñales, the world champion joined the poleman in the select 1:33 club. On lap five, the spotlight briefly moved to Valentino Rossi kneeled in the gravel trap, more in defeat than injury, following a crash with Takaaki Nakagami.

Once attention returned to the top of the charts, Marquez was in an air-tight Yamaha sandwich, with Dovizioso cautiously clinging on but Mir and Danilo Petrucci dropping a tenth here and a tenth there. While Marquez was subtly hunting Petronas prey, there was nothing subtle about Viñales’ intentions, the factory Yamaha looking at every tiny gap afforded by his compatriot. The desperation punished Viñales at the start of lap ten, when a mistake in the first turn dropped him into Dovizioso’s claws and cost him a second to the leaders.

The world champion made his move on lap 11, encouraged by Quartararo’s machine shaking wildly on the back straight and it’s not like the Honda needs an invitation to accelerate. The Frenchman didn’t take that sitting though, taking advantage from a mistake on the Spaniards’ side this time around, Marquez entering turn two overenthusiastically. The shenanigans helped Viñales catch up but Dovizioso couldn’t quite follow, one second behind the lead trio.

With status quo resumed up front, the halfway point of the race saw Quartararo, Marquez and Viñales embracing like peas in a pod. Viñales finally made his move on Marquez into the final chicane, making it a Yamaha one two, both blue bikes on harder rear rubber than their slightly older rival. Bike buddies they may be but Viñales had no sympathy for Quartararo, sweeping past him with 11 laps left. By the end of that lap, the Frenchman was the victim of Marquez as well as the Spaniard tried to stop his compatriot from making an escape. Meanwhile, the factory Ducatis were having heart-racing fun in the battle for fourth, Petrucci leading his teammate as the race entered the final ten laps.

Not that Marquez needs any help but Viñales gave him a helping hand by running wide at turn one and the Honda man found himself the prey rather than the hunter. And Viñales did hunt, back into the lead by the end of that same lap. Quartararo started fading but had a safe three second gap to the battle behind, where Mir was the surprise package that had the beating of the Ducatis for the time being. But there was little time to watch the young Spaniard’s adventures as his more experienced compatriots were glued to each other at the front. Viñales seemed to be getting faster as the race went on, lighting up the timesheets with red and orange sectors for the final seven laps and steadily stretching a gap.

Once Marquez admitted defeat and settled for a decent bag of points safely ahead of Quartararo, all eyes were on the Ducatis, which got their revenge on Mir but had another headache courtesy of Franco Morbidelli. With Dovizioso finishing a sensible fourth place after a tricky qualifying, the satellite Yamaha of Morbidelli got the best of Petrucci in the final turn to equal his best result in premier class in fifth place. Mir conceded seventh place to Crutchlow when he ran wide with three laps remaining but still brought his Suzuki home in a fine eighth place. Jack Miller and Andrea Iannone followed through on their speed in practice to complete the top ten.

Marquez missed out on the win but a look at the championship standings should ease the pain, the Spaniard extending his lead to 44 points ahead of Dovizioso. Petrucci jumps ahead of Rins, 52 and 59 points down respectively.


Pos. Num. Rider Bike Gap
1 12 Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha 40'55.415
2 93 Marc MARQUEZ Honda +4.854
3 20 Fabio QUARTARARO Yamaha +9.738
4 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati +14.147
5 21 Franco MORBIDELLI Yamaha +14.467
6 9 Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati +14.794
7 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW Honda +18.361
8 36 Joan MIR Suzuki +24.268
9 43 Jack MILLER Ducati +26.496
10 29 Andrea IANNONE Aprilia +26.997
11 44 Pol ESPARGARO KTM +28.732
12 41 Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia +34.095
13 88 Miguel OLIVEIRA KTM +34.181
14 63 Francesco BAGNAIA Ducati +34.249
15 55 Hafizh SYAHRIN KTM +34.494
16 53 Tito RABAT Ducati +48.357
17 17 Karel ABRAHAM Ducati 1 Lap
    Not Classified    
  5 Johann ZARCO KTM 10 Laps
  30 Takaaki NAKAGAMI Honda 22 Laps
  46 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha 22 Laps
  42 Alex RINS Suzuki 24 Laps
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Thanks for a detailed writeup Zara!

Do race officials ever delay or postpone a race due to excesive wind?  Getting pushed out of one's line running 200+kph seems overtly risky (on top of the usual risks.)

And all Viñales needed was for Marquez to be at a track the Honda doesn't shine at (especially with the characteristics of the 2019 version of the RC213V) and the next closest rival to be the lowest-spec M1 on the grid ridden by a rookie who very recently went under arm pump surgery...

Separately (and a bit of forecasting), I really wish all the commentary about Marquez 'owning' the Sachsenring would calm down a little.  This year's Honda Factory machine is a different beast altogether, and while Marc's riding is otherworldly, we've seen how things can go awry at tracks where it's supposedly "a done deal" that Marquez will win...

Rins - hard F, soft R...on front pushing Michelins? Blergh.
Vinales wild eyed following, clear eyed leading. Has started starting races, and always knew how to finish them. Has this bike working. Good for you kid! You had us worried there.
Quartararo head shake - staying on the gas as very late as possible on an underpowered bike. Bike set up to turn. He rode well. And deserves the full fat bike. 6th in the championship, soon to be 5th and top Yamaha.
Petrucci sure has a standard operating procedure now, carving a tight line into medium radius turns. On his team mate, after shadowing. A tad closer in than preferable. But keeping it clean.
Marquez minded the championship points and kept things at 10 10ths. His bike was a tad of a rough ride, and he doesn't mind a bronco bit. This 2019 Honda has a beautiful motor, and doesn't force Marc to over ride it under braking as much. The softer tires can work. But it is NOT a compliant bike by any means, still quite demanding of rider physicallity, and not so stable approaching the apex. A bit sluggish to change direction.
On the grid Zarco looked utterly dejected. The whole KTM armada are Yamaha riders. What a horrible idea, as the bike is more like a Honda. Enter Pedrosa, someone who can iron out the Orange buckaroo. Pol was always a really physical rider, he is managing to override the beast. They could use a Crutchlow. Or like everyone, a Marc. Maybe a Miller or Petrucci. But not all these Yamaha guys. Coming along.
Iannone in 10th did well, same for FP. He really got his race face on. Er, well, it looks like a Dr got a poster face on him, but anyhoo. Good weekend. That matters little?
Valentino, THREE DNF'S on the plop-trot? Every gravel visit tips a trip to the beach. When he decides, it is DONE. Contract or no. Might be deciding about now.
Did I miss anything?